It’s up to CSA Members Council how independent new Board of Directors will be, says Zak Yacoob
JOHANNESBURG – As was the case nearly ten years ago, the responsibility for ensuring that Cricket South Africa can be properly and professionally administered will rest with the organisation’s provincial presidents, i.e. Members Council.
Retired constitutional court justice Zak Yacoob, who chairs the Interim Board, said Thursday its most important task over the next few weeks, is the manner in which Cricket SA’s Members Council goes about ensuring that an independent Board of Directors will run the federation in the future.
For that to happen, the Members Council needs to change the Memorandum of Incorporation, to ensure that the new, permanent Board reflects the recommendations contained in Judge Chris Nicholson’s report which was drawn up a decade ago following the Commission of Inquiry in the ‘bonus scandal.’
Back then, CSA, claiming to be under pressure from the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, only half-heartedly implemented Nicholson’s recommendations which called for the majority of the Board to be independent. Sascoc, then under the leadership of the disgraced Tubby Reddy, claimed sport needed to be run by sports people which CSA’s leadership at the time relied on in appointing a Board of Directors in which independent membership was in the minority.
When Yacoob and his board departs, which for now is scheduled to be February 15, he wants the necessary structure in place to ensure that not only is the board independent, but that it is also responsible for the day to day affairs of the federation. “Our main objective is to ensure the memorandum of incorporation and the board charter accurately reflects and changes in accordance with the Nicholson report,” said Yacoob.
“Nicholson concentrated on the need for an independent board and we are trying to work through what an independent should be, what its power should, the powers of the members council and how they should relate to each other.”
“You can’t have two centres of power and our preference at the moment is for the board to be the centre of power in terms of day to day operational matters. There should be a division between the board and the Members Council, and that that is the route we should go and make absolutely certain that the majority of members of the future board are independent, in compliance with the Nicholson Report.”
Yacoob felt that the Members Council would be open and honest in its deliberations with the board. “I suspect that there will be differences of opinion, I’m quite sure that the Members Council wants to make sure everything is done in the interests of cricket. But there can be genuine and justifiable differences of opinion about how independent the board should be.
“I have no doubt that the Members Council will not come to negotiations with any ulterior purposes. I think they will come in genuinely and we will have a bonafide debate. But the complication is that an independent board does in a sense result in the reduction of the powers of the Members Council and obviously it is a very difficult thing for any board to put up with.”
Rihan Richards, the acting president of the Members Council confirmed that a meeting between the Council and the Interim Board would take place by next Tuesday at the latest. “We basically want a progress report,” said Richards, who added that the Council and Board had not met formally since the end of November.
Richards reiterated that the relationship between the Members Council and the Interim Board had improved since early November. “All (the Members Council) wanted was for people to be treated fairly and with dignity and for those that must be held accountable to be held accountable.”
Yacoob also explained that due to the Board’s heavy workload it may need an extension to the February 15 deadline agreed to with the Sports Minister’s office, but that such powers were beyond the board. “We are at the mercy of the Members Council, if they decide they don’t want us to go beyond the February 15 deadline, then we will bow out gracefully.”
Richards said he was in the dark about any extension, but he was seeking a three way meeting between the Members Council, Interim Board and Mthethwa’s office.
The disciplinary hearings into the conduct of former acting CEO Kugandrie Govender and the former company secretary Welsh Gwaza were ongoing, but would also likely stretch beyond, February 15. “With my knowledge of how legal proceedings are delayed, I will fall over backwards and die of surprise if these matters are finished by the time we go. I don’t think they will be finished but I and the board are committed, even though we will not members of the (future) board, to co-operate and participate in the enquiry and justify the decision we have made.”
*Meanwhile Yacoob confirmed that, for now Australia’s tour to South Africa next month would go ahead. He held discussions with Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, last week about the trip that will comprise three Tests. “The tour will go ahead, but we also agreed the coronavirus is changing all the time and there is no prediction about what will happen. If things go down for the worst and we can’t do it and our experts say we can’t do it, then we can’t do it. All we can do is pray that things don’t get bad,” said Yacoob.